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By: Lord Erman, Nafiz Erman
Sep 07 2010 12:01am
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ROGUE PLAY
Going Rogue in Extended
Part II

by Nafiz Erman

Hello dear readers and mages from all over the multiverse, and welcome back to Rogue Play. By the time you're reading this, Pro Tour Amsterdam will be over and the one and only big Extended event with Time Spiral block will be behind us. I am actually aware that most of the players stay away from the format; at least until Time Spiral rotates out. Not many want to invest in cards like Tarmogoyf or Grove of the Burnwillows knowing that they are only weeks away from rotation.

But I have a different point of view.

I believe that this is the right time to play Time Spiral cards and decks. Because in a very short time this block will "sink" into the deadly waters of Classic and Legacy, and we all know that those waters are not very friendly to newcomers. What I mean is this: Some decks and strategies that are very good and that can win constantly in Extended, don't have a chance once they rotate out of the format. Surely Tarmogoyf is Tarmogoyf no matter the format but who would play Pact of Negation when there is an alternative called Force of Will? Why would you tap River of Tears for  or  when you can do that with Underground Sea? Or why should you play Teferi's Moat when you can play the "real" Moat itself?

I think that you get the idea. So yes, I really do believe that this is the perfect time to look at your collection's TSP block part and say goodbye to it. Time Spiral was truly a great block and there were some really extraordinary cards that allowed us to play some really extraordinary decks.

Time Spiral was a great block.

So this will be a "Tribute to Time Spiral" kind of an article. I want to enjoy my TSP cards once again and for the last time before they fade away into Classic. Sadly I never had this opportunity for my Ravnica cards; one day they were in Extended and the next day they were only playable in Classic and Legacy. And all of a sudden all those great cards turned into junk. I don't want this to happen again for my Time Spiral cards and therefore lately I spent some time building and playing some decks I built around cards from this block.


The reward of last week's article.

Actually last week I gave you some hints about the cards I'm going to mention this week and offered a cookie as a reward. ShardFenix was close but couldn't find out the first card and so the cookie went to m8x115 who guessed all the three cards correctly.

Here's your cookie m8x115!! Enjoy!

So anyway, without further ado, here are our cards of the week:

And here's our first deck:

 

DECK #1:
Affinity for Mishra

Just like his elder brother Urza, Mishra's "belongings" are also very popular among the Magic community. He has an ankh, a war machine, a bauble and a groundbreaker, but of course the most important thing he has is his factory.

But in this article we will set aside all those things he owns and will concentrate on himself. What can we do with him? Which options do we have?

Actually we can do a couple of things with him. We can go Aggro, or we can go Combo or Control. 

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy

AGGRO
Mishra, Artificer Prodigy will bring in extra reinforcements to the battlefield, and Steel Overseer will pump them and will make them bigger. Even though this deck won't be as fast and as deadly as the old Affinity deck using Mishra, it will still be something to be feared of.

Steel Overseer
Time Sieve COMBO
We can play the known Time Sieve combo deck with the addition of Mishra. As you know, while playing this deck the more artifacts you have on table the better and Mishra, Artificer Prodigy is just the perfect man for this job.
Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
Mishra, Artificer Prodigy CONTROL
Or we can play a deck that uses lots of artifacts, kill everything that stands in our way, counter nasty spells and then finally kill the opponent with a big artifact fattie. How about Sphinx of the Steel Wind as our finisher? One is scary enough but how about Mishra bringing in another one? Nasty, eh?
Damnation

While the Combo and Control options are very nice too, I prefer to use Mishra in an aggressive deck. And what I will aim to do with that aggressive deck will be something like this:

Okay, so which are our "ingredients" for this deck?

Of course we will start the deck with Mishra's true buddy Epochrasite. Resilient creatures are always good but "almost impossible to get rid of" ones are even better! And a 4/4 for just isn't too bad(!) I think.

Our next creatures in the deck are Lodestone Golem and Master of Etherium. Lodestone Golem can turn the game into a nightmare for the opponent; especially if you play it while you have Mishra, Artificer Prodigy on table who will summon another one out of nowhere! Now each spell costs  more to play for the opponent and obviously this will make life a lot easier for us.

And Master of Etherium is the master of all artifact creatures, so he is an obvious choice.

Speaking of obvious choices, I must also mention Steel Overseer as well. Surely he will be much better after Scars of Mirrodin, but we can use him even now in this deck very effectively.

Parasitic Strix The next card in the deck, which is Parasitic Strix, may not make sense much at first but you truly understand its worth after you play it. Ours is an Aggro deck but there are much faster ones out there. So lifegain is always very important. Just try this artificial bird, especially when you have Mishra on table. You can then thank me later!

So we have tons of artifacts in the deck and there is still an empty creature slot in the deck. Which one can we add, do you think? 

We will add Phylactery Lich of course dear readers. Even though this isn't a deck built around it and even though this isn't a deck that can play it easily on turn three, we will still add two copies to the deck for late game. We will not always draw it, but it will win us those other few games all by itself.

And now it's time for the full decklist.

 

We may not have the artifact lands of Mirrodin anymore in Extended but we have the borderposts of Alara. And in a way, they are even better. 

I have an all Black sideboard for this deck but I am very happy with it so far. Damnation was a late addition to the sideboard but I learned my lesson of not underestimating other Aggro decks of the format and not overestimating my own speed the hard way. So it is definately a needed card.

I will not build a budget version of this deck as it is already very budget friendly (excluding the sideboard of course). Mishra, Artificer Prodigy costs $0,10 and that is a ridiculous price considering how good he is. And I am surprised to see Steel Overseer at $1,40 and Phylactery Lich at $0,60. Scars of Mirrodin is just around the corner and those two cards will skyrocket in price within a few weeks.

Okay dear readers, I hope you liked what I did with Mishra. This deck is incredibly fun to play and I strongly suggest you to give it a try.

 

DECK#2
The Last Wish

And now it's time for another Time Spiral goodie; the last of the wishes called Glittering Wish

Actually the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Glittering Wish is Kaleidoscope; a long forgotten format that is (or was rather) played with only multicolor cards. I spent a lot of time when it was a "hot" format, wrote a lot of articles about it and never missed a weekend events. But then the format died (thank you WotC(!!)), and now no one even remembers it.

Anyway, the format had two banned cards and Glittering Wish was one of those two. WotC feared that it could lead to some broken Combo decks and banned the card right after they announced the format. And thus I never had the opportunity to abuse this card.

But now it's time. It's finally time to see what can be done with it. Actually this card could have been much better if we had Ravnica block in the format but even with the current pool, it has its uses. Time Spiral has a good number of multicolored cards, and Shadowmoor and Alara are all about multicolor. So I'm sure we can do something useful with it.

Actually a little research gave me enough inspiration for more than a few decks but one caught my attention particularly; a  Teneb Control deck.

Teneb, the Harvester was my favorite Dragon back in the TSP days and I even wrote an article here back then about it (here's the link; check to see how I was looking when I was a newbie at writing (hey, that was more than three years ago!!)).

And now before he (Teneb is a male, right?) vanishes into Classic/Legacy, I believe a final visit to him and his Rock deck would be a nice idea. Of course with the help of Glittering Wish and all those nice multicolor cards that we are going to fill our sideboard with.

Actually if we are talking about Glittering Wish, we should know that our sideboard will be full with one-ofs; all multicolored. But just because our sideboard is "glittering", it doesn't mean that our main deck should also be like that. I say this because during the early stages of deck building I was somehow obsessed with multicolored cards; for both my sideboard and my main deck. Then I said "What are you doing?" to myself and started from the scratch.

Okay let's start talking about the deck. What do we want to do with this deck? How do we win? How do we not lose? What is our strategy and how do we fight our opponents' strategies?

Wall of RootsWall of RootsWall of RootsWall of Roots

Ours is a midrange deck dear readers. This isn't an Aggro Doran, the Siege Tower deck. So we will need some early protection. And that protection is provided by two cards you see on the left and right. And Wall of Roots also provides us some extra mana.

Wall of OmensWall of OmensWall of OmensWall of Omens
Wrath of GodWrath of GodDamnationDamnation Speaking of protection, our main ways to clear the table from unwanted guests (and there are always unwanted guests, aren't there?) are two board sweepers and Maelstrom Pulse. With the aid of those cards, we should be safe from any kind of harm. Maelstrom PulseMaelstrom PulseMaelstrom PulseMaelstrom Pulse 
Kitchen FinksKitchen FinksKitchen FinksKitchen Finks But of course just like any other midrange deck, we will be vulnerable to fast Aggro decks. And this is where life gain comes in. I don't think I have to tell you anything about Kitchen Finks. And Captured Sunlight seemed weak at first to me but playtesting revealed that it fits very well to the deck. Captured SunlightCaptured SunlightCaptured SunlightCaptured Sunlight

There are of course some other cards in the deck but first let's take a look at the list and then we'll talk:

 

Apart from the ones I already mentioned, I have some other great TSP block cards in the deck such as Harmonize and Sudden Death. This really is a deck that fits to the "Tribute to TSP Block" theme and I love it!

Of course the backbone of this deck is Glittering Wish. With it we can "reach" to our sideboard during a game and get ourselves a certain card we need desperately at that moment.

My Captured Sunlight gave me my Glittering Wish. Hmm... I think I will wish me a Qasali Pridemage.
It seems that I just wished me the right card!
I am playing against mono Black, I have seven cards in my graveyard and I just played my Glittering Wish. What do you think I should wish?

I think you get the picture.

If you liked the deck but if your budget is tight, then I have some good news for you because there are only a couple things you should replace. Actually even Maelstrom Pulse is cooling down because it's about to rotate out of Standard. A few weeks later from now on will be the perfect time to grab your copies. But for now you can always replace it with any other removal; my advise would be Oblivion Ring.

Damnation is also above five tickets but the M11 version of Day of Judgment is the perfect replacement for it. Just remove those two Damnations and those two Wrath of Gods from the original list, and add four copies of Day of Judgment. The difference between them is not something you will "feel" in every game.

The manabase should also give you some trouble if you are going to build the budget version but don't worry! This isn't a fast deck that needs untapped lands during early turns. Therefore Terramorphic Expanse will be more than enough. Also let me remind you that Caves of Koilos and Llanowar Wastes are still legal in the format and they both can be acquired below $0,50 each.

By the way there are of course many great other ways and decks you can enjoy your Glittering Wishes. A fast Naya deck would also love to use it. Glittering Wish will still give you Qasali Pridemage and Gaddock Teeg if you like, but it can also give you Naya Charm and Ajani Vengeant.

Of course you can keep Black in the deck which will turn it into a four color "Vengeant Jund" deck. This way you will have the pleasure of wishing yourself both Maelstrom Pulse and Ajani Vengeant. Oh and Thought Hemorrhage too in case of emergency Combo.

And so I conclude this deck as well dear readers and move onto the final one.

 

DECK #3
RACK n' Roll 

This final deck of the article is built around the infamous artifact The Rack. We all know that this cute looking artifact is one of the best ways to get blocked by other players as soon as it hits the table. In other words, this isn't the card if you want to make friends on MTGO while having fun playing the game.

A turn one The Rack gives away all your strategy but most of the time the game ends right there. Sometimes things get even worse; the opponent lectures you (just before blocking you), especially if you're in the Casual Room. Some say things that I am not allowed to say here and some mysteriously lose connection. In the TP Room reactions differ; some don't care or try to look like they don't care. But the common reaction, especially if they are losing, is to abandon the game. Some lose connection and some just don't play, sit and do nothing.

I personally try to follow that unwritten "Code of the Casual Room" even though I don't agree to it; you know the "no counters - no discard - no LD" one. I truly hope that one day people will realize that Magic isn't just about Grizzly Bears' fighting Cylian Elfs. But until that day comes, I will try not to bring my boring(!) decks to the Casual Room.

Actually unlike Glittering Wish and Mishra, Artificer Prodigy, this will not be my first "meeting" with The Rack. The Rack is an old card and I do have some fond memories with it. In the old days I remember using this one in a deck with Ensnaring Bridge, Bottomless Pit and Null Brooch. Of course there was no "Casual Room" back then but we had our "Casual Kitchen Table" (and to be 100% honest, it really was the kitchen table!), and I do remember a few openings like Swamp, Dark Ritual, Hymn to Tourach, The Rack, and I also do remember that I had fun with it.

Of course times have changed and so did our The Rack deck. For example back then it was a mono Black deck. Nowadays we have to add Red to the mix because of one single very powerful card; Blightning.

Blightning

Actually this is a good thing because now we can also kill those annoying "pro Black" creatures with ease. Now we don't have to play any non-targeted removal because of cards like Devout Lightcaster or White Knight. What we can't kill directly, we will simply burn! Pyroclasm, Earthquake are all at our disposal and now we don't have to fear those creatures that much.

But of course this is a discard deck and a big portion of the deck will be dedicated to discard spells. That's okay but which ones?

As our format is Extended, the first card we will add to our The Rack deck (after Blightning of course) is Thoughtseize. I don't think that Thoughtseize needs any explanation but the next card I have in deck as a four-of maybe does; it is Augur of Skulls.

There are always some cards which seem weak when you look at them. But you do understand how truely great they are only after you play them. And Augur of Skulls was such a card for me.

You can use Augur of Skulls in two ways. First it is obviously a discard spell on legs. You make the opponent discard two cards for a mere and this isn't something one can ignore. But the best part is this: Augur of Skulls is never a dead draw during late game when the opponent already has an empty hand. During those times, Augur of Skulls turns into Drudge Skeletons and holds the ground no matter the size of the opposing creature. So yes, Augur of Skulls is one of the most important cards in the deck.

Okay, just above I showed you a crazy opening with three The Racks and two Augur of Skulls'. That screenshot also reveals my removal package. Damnation is actually a very obvious choice. This is a discard deck with lots of discard spells ("a discard deck with lots of discard spells"; how clever of me!), so there isn't much space left to add removal. And instead of going out with just a bunch of Terminates or Lightning Bolts, I decided to use the best and the most efficient Black removal spell.

As you can also see from that screenshot, I also have Grove of the Burnwillows together with Punishing Fire is in the main deck. Why? I mean, why not?! An almost never ending source of damage can't be bad, right?

And now it's time to look at the deck list. As always there are a few things left to talk about, and as always I will do so after you take a look at the deck.

 

And that's the list. It has been some time since I last played Smallpox and Funeral Charm. And therefore testing this deck was a nice change for me. I had the pleasure of Funeral Charm-ing a Ball Lightning in one game, and Smallpox-ing a 8/8 (or was it a 9/9?) Knight of the Reliquary in one other game (I also Smallpox-ed a hardcasted Red Akroma). So yes, those cards are huge fun!

As I told you at the beginning, this isn't the deck that will help you make friends in the Casual Room. So I will not show you a budget version. If you want to play heavy discard in the Casual Room and to get blocked, then you're on your own. I will not make things easier for you. I'm not saying that I agree to that unwritten "Code of the Casual Room"; I just say that it's there. One or two Duresses or Blightnings here and there are okay most of the time, but a turn one The Rack followed by a storm of discard spells?! In the Casual Room?!

As I said, you're on your own.

 

CONCLUSION

Okay dear readers, we come to the end of this week's Rogue Play. This was an article dedicated to Time Spiral block but of course Time Spiral block is not only about those three cards I showed you. If you too wish to say goodbye to this wonderful block, you can also try a mono Black Aggro deck with Dauthi Slayer and Bad Moon, Dragonstorm combo, Slivers, a tribal Soldiers deck with Benalish Commander, a Solar Flare deck with Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Body Double and Resurrection, or Coalition Victory and/or Barren Glory if you like fun decks, or a mono Green Aggro deck with Gaea's Anthem.

But no matter what deck(s) you like to play, just don't forget that you have only a couple of weeks left. Scars of Mirrodin is about to come and Time Spiral is about to rotate out. You may not like the tournament decks of the current Extended, but believe me when I say that the format offers much more than those few decks. Just try it. You won't be disappointed.

Thanks for reading.

See you online
Nafiz Erman, aka Lord Erman

8 Comments

I'd like to give time-spiral by StealthBadger at Tue, 09/07/2010 - 06:33
StealthBadger's picture

I'd like to give time-spiral block a farewell by building some kind of deck featuring flagstones of trokair, urborg, smallpox and the B/W filter land. There's something deeply satisfying about that play every time you manage it.

One random thing that crossed my mind reading your article; did you ever consider playing the rack and mishra in the same deck? That sounds fun....!

Mishra's Things by VoraciousMongrel at Tue, 09/07/2010 - 11:31
VoraciousMongrel's picture
5

Great article. I know mishra's workshop isn't on mtgo, but I am pretty sure it trumps his factory as his most important possession :-)

I have been playing a mishra by this isnt the n... at Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:23
this isnt the name i chose's picture

I have been playing a mishra deck since the day new ext started. I went more aggro route, but I have a very very high win percentage with the deck (especially vs people who have not played vs mishra decks before).
I rarely post my lists, but its rotating out soon, so copy away:

1,Academy Ruins
4,Ancestral Vision
4,Coalition Relic
2,Creeping Tar Pit
4,Crumbling Necropolis
4,Epochrasite
2,Graven Cairns
3,Island
2,Lavaclaw Reaches
4,Lodestone Golem
4,Master of Etherium
4,Mind Stone
4,"Mishra, Artificer Prodigy"
2,Mountain
3,Scalding Tarn
4,Smother
3,Swamp
4,Terminate
2,Triskelion

Cute list, Seems about right, by Paul Leicht at Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:48
Paul Leicht's picture

Cute list, Seems about right, with some tech in Terminate. What's with the commas instead of spaces?

Thanks for the comments. The by Lord Erman at Tue, 09/07/2010 - 16:28
Lord Erman's picture

Thanks for the comments.

The list is really good but I still prefer Executioner's Capsule with Mishra (plus Bolt for those with pro Black). It may not kill everything but that's what the sideboard is for (Damnation, on the other hand, kills everything!). In the Casual Room the sideboard surely doesn't matter and yes, I admit that the capsule is dead against some decks (especially Mono Black), but I'm taking that risk.

I didn't think of using Mishra together with The Rack. But what's funny is that The Rack itself is a creation of Mishra (check The Rack's flavor text if you want proof!). And now that you mentioned it, I realize that I skipped a huge opportunity to build a nice Vorthos Mishra deck. Maybe some other time!

Mishra's possessions of course are not only the ones I listed. As you mentioned, there is his famous workshop and then he also has a helix etc... I just named the ones that I recalled at that moment. But yeah, his workshop is definately his most fameous creation.

Thanks again for the comments.

LE

Seriously? Workshop might be by Paul Leicht at Tue, 09/07/2010 - 23:00
Paul Leicht's picture

Seriously? Workshop might be his most expensive collectable but Mishra's Factory (Fat Trees to those who know) has got to be his #1 most well known card.

I really love the wish deck, by JustSin at Wed, 09/08/2010 - 18:23
JustSin's picture
5

I really love the wish deck, I tried playing a classic deck with it when we first got TSP and it was really hit or miss, now I really want to go back to playing with it

Mishra is a helluva fun deck by gelleetin at Sat, 09/25/2010 - 18:11
gelleetin's picture
5

Mishra is a helluva fun deck to play, though I had to make some changes for budget reasons (really want those Epochrasites!).

The substitutions I made were Etherium Sculptor/Master Transmuter/Triskelion for Epochrasite/Lodestone Golem/Phylactery Lich, which have lots of synergy with Mishra - double border posts for free is great, and bouncing artifacts to get additional Mishra triggers (and replaying them at a discount, to boot). Triskelion solves the protection problem, and with transmuter and overseer is a veritable machine gun of doom :)

Can't wait to try adding Strider Harness from Scars as a psuedo Lightning Greaves with pump.

Anyways, always enjoy your articles, hope to see more of your budget/rogue pieces!